A last-ball four by Clive Madande gave Zimbabwe victory by three wickets over Ireland in the first men's ODI in Harare on Wednesday afternoon.

Needing four off the last ball bowled by Graham Hume, Madande smacked a boundary to break Irish hearts and give Zimbabwe the win in a rain-affected match in the Zimbabwean capital.

Ireland lost the toss and were asked to bat under leaden skies, with one 15-minute break for rain. They made 288 for four off their 50 overs.

Zimbabwe had Ireland in trouble early on with Stephen Doheny, making his ODI debut, clean-bowled and Paul Stirling LBW for 13 as the Irish were reduced to 25 for two in the ninth over.

It meant Harry Tector came in to join Andrew Balbirnie at the crease and the pair began a slow rebuild. At one stage the visitors were viewing a score north of 300.

Andrew Balbirnie receives treatment

Having made his eighth one-day century for Ireland, Balbirnie then suffered a horrific moment in the 45th over when he top-edged a full toss from Brad Evans into the grill of his helmet, flooring the Irish captain on 121 runs and forcing his retirement.

Ireland brought in George Dockrell as his replacement - he duly departed for 12 off just five balls.

Curtis Campher (8) soon followed as the momentum went out of the Irish innings.

However Tector managed to get to his 100, his third for Ireland, off just 106 deliveries in the last over. Helped by a late cameo from Lorcan Tucker (12 not out), Ireland reached 288 for four.

Balbirnie didn't appear for the Zimbabwe reply due to concussion protocols, replaced on the field by Tyrone Kane who was in action straight away, taking a fine catch at backward point to get rid of Wesley Madhevere off the bowling of Mark Adair with Zimbabwe nine for one.

Innocent Kaia was joined by Craig Ervine, the hosts' captain, and both were dropped by Irish fielders off the bowling of Hume, before Kaia holed out to Curtis Campher for 19 with the score 49 for two.

Gary Ballance, the former England player, made his ODI debut for the country of his birth as Tector showed his growing pedigree as an all-rounder, catching a bowling the dangerous Ervine for 38 before Ballance (23) became Josh Little's first wicket caught by Hume.

Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza put on 76 runs for the fifth wicket before the rains came, forcing the players off and the covers on. When they returned Zimbabwe were faced with scoring 39 runs off 22 deliveries.

Raza went for 43 and Burl was run out in the final over for 53 and it seemed Ireland would win.

But Madande had the last word as the three-match series now moves on to game two on Friday.